Israel Adesanya respects Paddy Pimblett’s confidence, but he also believes the surging fighter’s skills haven’t matched the level of his trash talk.
The UFC middleweight champion previewed Saturday’s UFC London event, which takes place at the O2 Arena and serves as the promotion’s first card in the U.K. in over two years. Pimblett will face Rodrigo Vargas in a lightweight matchup. Adesanya gave his thoughts on Pimblett before being shown a clip of “The Baddy” saying kind things about Adesanya’s fighting skills, but not being a fan of “the mad stupid dances he does when he comes out.”
Of course, Adesanya wasn’t going to let that slide, while taking a jab at the UFC’s matchmaking for Pimblett.
” He should. Adesanya stated on YouTube that he would challenge him to make a full ****** entrance in the largest fight of his career. “I’m not talking this fight — this ain’t the biggest fight of his life. He’s fighting a motherf***** that’s 1-2 [in the UFC]. He is being fed like a bum. He’s being fed a bum.
Pimblett had a huge impact on his first octagon appearance when he defeated Luigi Vendramini at UFC Vegas 36 in September. While he liked to see Pimblett make the most of his opportunity, Adesanya feels there shouldn’t be any comparisons between the two.
“He leapt in the UFC and talked about ***,, while he also walked that ***,,” Adesanya said. “I like what he’s doing. The haircut is great. I also like that he owns everything. He’s speaking his truth. He’s being built up. This is the thing: when I got to the UFC, when I jumped in, I was ready to fight the [most] dangerous people of the division, and they threw me right in there against a grappler who was going to grapple me — at least, that’s what he tried to do. Second fight, I’m fighting block head [Marvin Vettori], third fight, I fight a top-ranked guy, top-10, f***, third fight.
“You can ride a hype train, but you have to be aware of the levels. I knew I could jump in the deep end and swim with the sharks right away. It was not an opportunity that I had, as some of these guys did. [Jon Jones] started out fighting, not scrubs. But they push you and when they see who you really are, they say, “Oh, okay, let’s push them more.” That’s me just stating the truth. I didn’t get to fight a guy who was 1-2.”
Vargas will look to build upon his first octagon victory nearly a year ago at UFC 261 when he defeated Zhu Rong via unanimous decision. “Kazula” dropped a unanimous decision to Alex da Silva in his promotional debut before losing via disqualification to Brok Weaver due to an illegal knee in his sophomore appearance.
While Vargas enters the bout coming off of a win, Adesanya feels like the presence Pimblett brings to the table might be a little too much for him to handle.
” This kind of confidence shakes many dudes and even veterans,” Adesanya stated. “When they’re under the lights, when a guy is creative like Pimblett, or like myself — like [Derek] Brunson at MSG. I created all of that. He said, “Oh ***, is ***,'” and then he was shaken.
“He can shake off a lot veterans with his confidence. But he is still a little green and needs to improve his skills, particularly his striking .”